As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many people are planning meals or preparing to travel to visit loved ones. Some of you are excited about the holiday and some are stressed out about it.  

I wanted to share a little history on the upcoming holiday and to give you a few ideas that may alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling. 

Thanksgiving originated as a time to celebrate the harvest with family and friends through a festival.  A time to be thankful for the harvest and bounty of the year.  Thanksgiving Day is public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and has been nationally celebrated on and off since 1789 after a proclamation by George Washington.

Through the years as times changed so has the celebration.  The basic premise has remained a time for celebration with family/friends and a time to be thankful but now we also enjoy football games, turkey dinner, movies, family traditions and many people even get ready for Black Friday shopping. Whatever you elect to do on Thanksgiving, take time to reflect on the people and what you are thankful for in your life.

If your plans include preparing a meal for your family and friends, it can be stressful. Especially if you are not used to cooking for a large number of people.  To help ease the stress, plan the meal in advance and if items can be prepared early prepare them.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, assign side dishes or desserts to those attending the celebration.  This allows your guests to be part of preparing the feast and exposes your guests to dishes they may not have had an opportunity to try prepared in a different way than they are used to having them.  Having side dishes prepared by your guests also will free you up to enjoy time to visit with everyone.  If guests are traveling from out of town that cannot prepare a dish, ask them to help in different way.  Maybe have them bring wine, rolls, a salad or ask them to help set the table or help in the kitchen.  

Traveling a long distance in a car with children is never easy as they can get bored easily.  Make sure they have things to keep them entertained while they are in the car.  Technology is great to keep kids busy but research some games that the entire family can participate in while traveling or better yet make one up as you are traveling.  Discuss towns you are traveling through and what each town’s “claim to fame” is or something the town is known for producing.  This a good way to turn a boring road trip into a learning experience without the kids even realizing it.  It may take a little planning on your part but it will be worth it.  You can also have a conversation about what you are thankful for and why.  Be creative and make the trip a fun for everyone.

Whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving.  Take time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life, celebrate what you have and enjoy those who are with you.  Don’t forget, if you have a friend or neighbor that may not be attending a celebration of their own, ask them to join you.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have loved ones near them so include those people in your celebration of thanks.

As for me, I am thankful for my friends, family, teachers, employees and clients that have taught me life lessons and helped me with my successes or encouraged me during difficult times.  I am blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!